Bueckers Reaches Shoot-Out Finals, McCorkle Advances to Dunk Semifinals at Youth Olympic Games
U.S. Youth Olympic Games Women’s Basketball Team members Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.) and Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./Eden Prairie, Minn.) took part in the Women’s Shoot-Out Contest, while Carson McCorkle (Greensboro Day School/Greensboro, N.C.) represented the U.S. men in the Dunk Contest on Monday afternoon at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Of the 37 athletes who entered the Women’s Shoot-Out competition, Bueckers was one of four who advanced to the final round, where she unfortunately cooled off to finish in fourth place.
“I don’t know what happened,” Bueckers said. “In the first round my arms were shaking, and in the second round they weren’t shaking, and I was like, ‘What do I do,?’ The second round was bad, but it still was fun, just competing against all of the other countries. And, shooting is one of the best things I do, so it was really fun.”
Bueckers advanced to the finals with seven made 2-pointers in 26.7 seconds. Brunelle just missed the cut after she was one of seven players to make five baskets in the first round. She did so in 27.3 seconds, which put her in seventh place. The fourth place qualifier, Katerina Galickova made five baskets in 25.3 seconds.
“I think what really kind of slowed me down was when I was on the first rack, a ball came back at me on a miss, and I had to kind of hit that out of the way, and I think that took a little time away from me,” Brunelle said. “I think if that had not happened, maybe things would have been different, but maybe not. I still had fun.”
In the Shoot-Out second round, Bueckers scored four points. The top finisher was France’s Mathilde Peyregne, who made nine baskets in 49.4 seconds. The silver medalist was Czech Republic’s Katerina Galickova, and the bronze medalist was Argentina’s Sofia Acevedo, who made eight baskets in 48.1 seconds.
As the undefeated, No. 1 seed out of Group B, the U.S. women’s team (4-0) will take on Netherlands (3-1), the No. 2 seed out of Group D, in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 16. The quarterfinal winners will meet in the semifinals at 10 and 10:25 a.m. EDT on Oct. 17, and the semifinal winners will compete in the gold medal game at 1 p.m. EDT on Oct. 17. The semifinal losers will battle for the bronze medal at 12 p.m. EDT on Oct. 17.
“As soon as we figured out who we were playing, we watched film, and did a scouting report at practice,” Bueckers said. “So we are focused on the Netherlands and that is about it.”
McCorkle lit up the Dunk Contest in qualification round, which began with 10 athletes from 10 different countries. With his first dunk, which earned 26 points, he grabbed the basketball off the bounce and brought it around from below his waist to emphatically slam home. In his second-round dunk, he again grabbed the ball off of the bounce and double-pumped it behind his head before finishing a reverse. He was one of four athletes who advanced to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, McCorkle got help from his teammate Dudley Blackwell (Westminster Academy/Miramar, Fla.), who threw the ball off the backboard, and McCorkle threw down in a reverse jam that earned 23 points. He added 24 points in a round-house dunk in his second attempt, but fell short of advancing to the finals by finishing the Dunk Contest semifinals in fourth place.
“After some practices in the last week or so, I’ve just been trying different dunks,” McCorkle said. “Today when I was warming up, I just tried some of the dunks I have been practicing and decided which ones I like and I wanted to do.
“I thought I did pretty well. You have three attempts, and I did miss two in a row, which I thought hurt me a little bit in the semifinal round.”
The gold medalist in the Dunk Contest was Argentina’s Fausto Ruesga, Russia’s Nikita Remizov won silver and Italy’s Niccolo Filoni earned bronze.
“It was fun doing the dunk contest,” McCorkle said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I was really happy to be able to come here and compete.”
The U.S. Youth Olympic Games Men’s Basketball Team did not advance out of preliminary round play after finishing play in Group C with a 2-2 record and in fourth place.
A multi-sport event, the Summer Youth Olympic Games are being held Oct. 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the basketball competition is being played under FIBA 3x3 rules. The basketball competition at the Youth Olympic Games is organized by the IOC and FIBA. The 2018 Games includes 20 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams.